The Freeride World Tour's first-ever North American event is staged to take place this week at Crystal Mountain, Wash. Collaborating with the North Face Masters series (also for the first time), a mixed bag of heavies have been lured into the snow-starved Northwest, the headliner undoubtedly big mountain slayer Xavier De La Rue.
While freeride events are often considered anti-contests when compared with freestyle formats, the presence of the FWT international contingency, along with top-ranking NFM shreds, guarantees the level of riding will be as fast and progressive as the low-tide conditions will allow.
This is not about doubling your cork (though, I assume, if it was conceived in this or any contest it would be highly rewarded: note the Winter X 15 now on rerun), but riding the mountain to its highest natural potential given the conditions at hand. Right now, that is variable slush/ice.
"It legitimizes the contest even more. The conditions will show who is an all-weather rider," says Crystal local and winner of the 2010 NFM Crystal stop, Forrest Burki, about this year's spiked competition.
A pulse in the lifeline, forecasts are calling for the possibility of significant accumulation over the next 24 hours: a much needed reset for the tracked-out venue, and for the general health and well-being of the Northwest shred community.
It was decided at the rider's meetings Superbowl Sunday that today would be a weather day, pushing back qualifying until Tuesday when forecasts call for bluer skies. The start list is available online at the NFM website (I start second to last!), and the final on Wednesday will be streamed live.
If you miss this one in Washington, the Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom is next weekend (Feb. 11-13). If you miss both because you're scoring powder somewhere else, you win.